Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) on Friday stressed the need for evolving a robust mechanism to protect the interests of all segments of people including Kashmiri Pandits in the wake of the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020, which defines the domiciles in the Union Territory.
“This can be ensured by undertaking fresh registration of the left out Kashmiri Pandits for domicile purposes since the new rules recognize only such of the migrants, who are registered as migrants by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner,” Mr. Vijay Bakaya, senior leader JKAP and former legislator said in a statement, regretting that this provision does not include such of the migrants who were registered outside Jammu and Kashmir in various other states and Union Territories across the country.
He said the new rules have instilled a sense of deprivation among a vast number of Kashmiri Pandits, integral to Kashmir’s glorious ethos, who were unfortunately compelled by circumstances to leave the Valley, not by choice. Besides, a significant segment of Kashmiri Pandits had spread in various parts of the country prior to 1990 migration in pursuit of their careers but continued to be the part of larger Kashmiri family, he added.
Hitherto fore, they were entitled to be permanent residents notwithstanding their physical location outside the Valley, Bakaya said, adding that such of the residents were covered by the law, introduced in 1954, which empowered successive state governments to define “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir and reserve for them certain rights and privileges.
“This mechanism of permanent resident covered all those who were state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir in 1954 and their descendants,” he said, adding that these also included those who had lived and owned land in Jammu and Kashmir for at least 10 years in 1954.
Referring to the new rules, introduced in terms of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020, the JKAP senior leader said that now only those who have resided for a period of fifteen years in the UT of J&K or have studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K are eligible for the domicile rights. “While children of the individuals under these categories would also be counted as domiciles, what about all those who had left much before but were entitled to be the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir,” Bakaya added.
The JKAP senior leader sought course correction in the rules and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene in the matter and undertake necessary amendments in the new rules in the larger interests of the people including Kashmiri Pandits.
He suggested the same analogy to be adopted for the original state subjects, including Kashmiri Pandits, which was available to them as per the 1954 law. “This will hugely assuage the hurt feelings of those who stand marginalized by the new law,” Bakaya observed.
The JKAP senior leader reiterated that the order issued by the Union government reflects a casual exercise carried out at the bureaucratic level without taking the aspirations and expectations of people into consideration.
“Before introducing such a law all the stakeholders should have been taken into confidence,” Bakaya remarked, adding that this section of the order is an antithesis to what was promised by the country’s leadership on the floor of Parliament.